Cartoon Net Boosts Atomic Program

Better-than-expected ratings have prompted Cartoon Network in the U.S. to order an additional 26 half-hour episodes of Breakthrough Animation’s new action/comedy series, Atomic Betty, which debuted in mid September. The Canada-France co-production was created by Atomic Cartoons and co-produced with Breakthrough Media and France’s Tele-image Kids, in association with TELETOON Canada and with the participation of the Shaw Fund and the Canadian Television Fund.

Atomic Betty employs Flash animation and some CG to chronicle the exploits of an extraordinary little girl from the Canadian town of Moosejaw Heights. To her friends and family, Betty is the sweet and brainy girl next door. But when the galaxy beckons, she sheds her humdrum persona and becomes Atomic Betty, Galactic Guardian and Defender of the Cosmos. The property was conceived by Atomic Cartoons principals Trevor Bentley, Mauro Casalese, Rob Davies and Olaf Miller, and developed by Breakthrough Animation and Fresh Produce.

Series executive producer Kevin Gillis, a managing partner of Breakthrough Animation Inc., says that while there’s no formula for a successful show, all the right elements have come together for Betty. He comments, "It crosses over a number of different genres in terms of being appealing for both boys and girls. I think the comedy is a huge part of it and the work Atomic Cartoons has done on the designs is fabulous. The writers have also done a fabulous job of telling good stories with great comedy and that combined with the great design has created a property that has found its time."

In late October, Breakthrough inked a worldwide home video distribution agreement with Warner Home Video for Atomic Betty. Under the terms of the agreement, Warner Home Video will distribute the first two seasons, consisting of 52 half-hour episodes, in the U.S. and most international home video markets.

Beakthrough has Betty licensing deals in place with Playmates as master toy licensee and Penguin Books as publishing partner for the property, with new items to begin landing on store shelves in early 2005. One consumer product Gillis is especially fond of is a line of Atomic Betty shoes that has lights that shoot out across the pavement like exhaust from miniature rockets. The company also has plans to reach slightly older viewers with a mobile game and other mobile content to be developed by wireless entertainment company GlobalFun AB in Sweden.

Atomic Betty has also been renewed for a second season by such international broadcasters as Teletoon France and LUK Int’l for Spain and Portugal. The animated series has been licensed to more than 100 territories including TELETOON Canada, ABC (Australia), M6 France, CITV (U.K.), Cartoon Network (U.S.) and Cartoon Network Territories worldwide including the U.K, Italy, Scandinavia and South East Asia.